A Park, Some Food & A Friend

A Park, Some Food & A Friend

For the month of March momma and I have been involved with a research project that hopes to measure the effectiveness of pairing up a clinically depressed patient with an animal to walk and talk with.  We were interviewed in order to match-up personalities, measuring walking speed, friendliness, approachability, and available times.  My “walk-mate” was Judy, a pleasant and sociable woman. I met Judy in a nearby city park where she and momma made small talk, while I tried to munch on newly sprouting Spring dandylion greens.  They agreed that momma and I would meet Judy at the park every other day, where Judy and I would walk the 3.5 mile hiking trail that meanders the outside and visually more stunning area of the park.  Judy took my leash, hooked up my water bottle to her belt loop and off we went to walk around the park. When we first started walking Judy was a little quiet, concentrating on the downed tree limbs, keeping us both safe from tripping.  We wandered through the old military barracks now painted a bright yellow and made it back to greet my momma for lunch in the park.  After a week passed momma gave Judy a packed lunch for the two of us and off we’d go, walking the park where we would generally find ourselves down by the lighthouse where we would listen to the seals, watch the boats cruise by, and where Judy would take pictures of us as we nibbled on our lunches. It wouldn’t be right for me to share the personal things that Judy has told me, that’s...
Re-Engineered Love

Re-Engineered Love

This week was a bit more slow than the normal.  Momma and dadz both had unusual obligations, but I was able to tag along with them for some of their appointments.  Momma had to go to work to catch up on things since she was sick so much last week, I was able to join her for part of her schedule; and then when she couldn’t watch me at her office, she took me to the doggy day care right down street where her co-workers would pop in and say, “Hi Mattiedog!” Dadz time commitments where a bit different… he spent time at Habitat for Humanity and helped build some houses for people, and their pets.  I mention the “their pets” part because that is how dadz selects the projects he will work on.  Dadz asked if I could come on site while he worked and explained that I wouldn’t get in the way and that I was a trained therapy dog and understand a lot of different hand signs for my own safety.  The Habitat for Humanity staff pondered this request for a day and then told dadz that it would be fine but that I’d have to stay close to another dog, Ploppers, the dog that would soon be occupying the house with his family. Ploppers was a little white fluffy mixed breed doggy and his hind legs were in a little trailer with bright red wheels.  Ploppers dad was also in a a trailer of sorts, my dadz called it a wheelchair.  Poppers dad was in a serious car accident and left with paralysis.  He explained...
My View of This World

My View of This World

My momma and dadz take me for long bicycle rides.  They have a “baby wagon” that dadz attaches to the back of his bicycle, where he harnesses me in and pedals me all around our little town and through the vast 500 acre park by our house.  Often times we bicycle in to the city and go to the market where I end up having to share my baby wagon space with bags of freshly picked fruits and vegetables. When we go for a bicycle ride my dadz always turns around and peaks at me to make sure I’m okay.  I look back at him, titling my head to let him know that I am enjoying the cool breeze.  Most of the time though, when I’m being pulled around in my bicycle baby wagon,  I’m not looking at dadz, I’m facing backwards, looking at the world as it whizzes by me.  I’m taking in all of the colors of the trees, the cobbles of the streets, the noises coming from the houses, and the various smells lingering in the air.  I’m enjoying the world, taking in all that surrounds me, enthralled by the tapestry of life. One time momma asked dadz, “Do you think he’s bored back there in his baby wagon?” “No,” my dadz said, “he’s living his life.”  Dadz was right.  I find that when you relax, sit back and take in the glory of every day living, your life takes on a new meaning, and you explore your life with a new found sense of calm.  There is no more worry about any preconceived outcome, no...
Live a Life With Meaning

Live a Life With Meaning

This week my momma took me to spend time with a nice gentleman who would soon be passing from this world.  He was not upset, more so he was engaged and interested in making decisions that ultimately would affect his life.  I spent four days with Anthony, a gentleman of 87 years of age.  Anthony was the last living sibling of his family, and he had no children or significant other, so he was singular as he passed from this world…yet he was not alone. On the first day as I sat with Anthony, he called me “dog.” He said, “Hi, dog” and asked “are you hungry, dog” as he offered me pieces of his morning breakfast, a sweet smelling banana.  Anthony told me his plans to withdraw his medication and explained that he was well aware of the impact of his decision.  He said, “Dog, I’ve seen a lot and I’ve lived my mission in this life, so it is time to go on to the next.” Over the series of 4 days, Anthony stopped calling me “dog” and started calling me “Mattie.” On the last day I spent with Anthony he said, “Mattie, you have to have a mission in life.  You just can’t go willy-nilly through this life,” and then he went on to tell me very personal stories of his many adventures.  The telling of his life was hard for Anthony, each breath a little more labored than the last.  But I learned that Anthony had seen wars, visited far off lands, married out of love, raised children, and suffered great loss.  Yet through all...

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